Two Georgia counties receive $5M in funding from USDA ReConnect program

Evans County, one of the most recent Broadband Ready communities, and McIntosh County were awarded $5M in US Department of Agriculture (USDA) ReConnect funds on Feb. 21. Evans County was also recognized as a Broadband Ready Community on Feb. 6 by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA).

The ReConnect program provides capital for the purpose of providing broadband service in rural counties. Gilmer County was the first in Georgia to receive funding on Feb. 7.

Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the funding in Evans County on Feb. 21, recognized the impact of the funding for rural communities and lauded state legislators for their ongoing work to advance efforts for internet access for Georgia’s citizens. Addressing the crowd, he said, “I want to thank you … for obviously making rural broadband possible throughout the state.”  

According to the application, Pembroke Telephone Company, Inc. proposed to build a fiber-to-the-home project to unserved and underserved areas in Evans County. The broadband speed will increase connections from 10 megabits per second (Mbps) download/1 Mbps upload to 100 Mbps download/100 Mbps upload.

There are 964 houses without sufficient access to broadband in a population of 2,704. The total project cost is $4,072,500.

In McIntosh County, Darien Telephone Co. Inc. received $1,086,649 for its ReConnect project: fiber-to-the-home to remote and rural Proposed Funded Service Areas which lack access to broadband. The service area covers approximately 27 square miles, including two barrier islands.

The second round of USDA ReConnect funding opened Jan. 31, and DCA continues to provide technical assistance to applicants. From supplying the State of Georgia’s Broadband Plan and Gov. Kemp’s Letter of Commitment, projects can be awarded as much as 20 scoring points with these documents. For more information, visit the Broadband website or email Broadband@dca.ga.gov.